A farm-raised elk in Burnett County is confirmed to have been carrying chronic wasting disease, the always-fatal deer disease sweeping across the nation.
Based on test results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed that a 6-year-old bull elk from a breeding farm in Burnett County tested positive for CWD after it had suffered an injury and was euthanized and tested.
The state has quarantined the farm, and the remaining five elk in the herd, so that no animals can move in or out of the property. The move also restricts movement of carcasses. No elk have left the farm since the herd was formed in 2014.
The owner will continue to test all elk that die to monitor if the disease has spread to other animals in the herd. The state Division of Animal Health will investigate the animal’s health history and the premises to determine if any other herds may have been exposed to the CWD-positive elk. In other areas, wildlife officials have blamed farm-raised deer and elk for spreading CWD to nearby wild animals.
CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk and moose caused by an infectious protein called a prion that affects the animal's brain. Testing for CWD can be performed only after the animal's death.